Platforms and Development Choices
While the strategic and vertical approach is finalized, a technological roadmap has to be put in placebased primarily on the existing infrastructure and available resources. The battle between open source and proprietary OSs has reached even the wireless platform with the availability of a Linux version for handhelds, with PDA OEM Sharp taking the lead in commercially launching their handheld with it.
A clear way of evaluating a platform is based on the following:
Type of connectivity hardware (clip-on, plug-in, or integrated wireless devices)
Number of users
Bandwidth and coverage requirement
Figure 2 Enterprise wireless architecture.
Unlike the desktop, in which the consumers have little choice except use Windows, the mobile OS market is quite diverse. Enterprises have the option between Windows CE.net, Windows XP Embedded, Linux, and Palm OSamong others. Several companies are vying for attention among the developer community because that will hold the key to future devices. Sun Microsystems, with its popular Java language, has brought about a framework for wireless devices called J2ME, and Microsoft its own version of the developer vision called the .net Compact Framework. As per a report by Gartner 70% of PDA's and Mobile Phones will leverage J2ME by the year 2004. A
Microsoft's recently released Windows XP embedded its version of RTOS (Real Time Operating System) for specialized systems such as POS (Point of Sales) systems, but it is unlikely to meet with a lot of success due to the absence of a hardware component.
Among the other technological advancements has been support for IP V6 in Windows CE.net 4.1, software compression solutions to match bandwidth with solutions, availability of METthe mobile equivalent of SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) for transaction, and PDA packet sniffers. The challenge for solution providers lies in bundling these technologies with domain knowledge.
In the consumer arena, a lot of activity is taking placehandset manufacturers are working on providing multimedia messaging service (MMS). Although the enterprise landscape looks promising, its development is fraught with an absence of standards and myriad platforms, making it difficult for both user as well as developer communities.
Although no single approach to making informed choices exists in the next part of the series, we talk about how a platform for development can be selectedbased on an end goal. Keep looking out!